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rayer is needed for Turkey as lawyers representing the families of three Turkish Christians tortured and slaughtered with knives by Muslim Turks last April recently demanded that the three-member bench of judges hearing the case be replaced. Addressing the Malatya Third Criminal Court on February 25, 2008, plaintiff lawyer Özkan Yücel Soylu declared that the “impartiality and independence” of the court was in jeopardy, as the judges were obstructing justice by withholding evidence and refusing to record the high-profile murder case, Compass Direct News reported.
Lawyers of slain
TURKISH CHRISTIANS demand removal of judges
On April 18, 2007, five young Turkish Muslims entered the Malatya offices of Zirve Publishing and tortured and then slit the throats of Necati Aydin and Ugur Yuksel, both Turkish Christians who had converted from Islam, and a German Christian, Tilmann Geske. According to identical handwritten notes found in the pockets of all five killers, their motives were both nationalist and religious, Compass reported. “We did this for our country,” the notes read. “They
are attacking our religion.” During the court proceeding on February 25, Soylu objected to the court’s refusal to grant access to the killers’ computer records, photographs from the autopsies and crime scene and security camera films from one suspect’s hospital room, Compass reported. “This is essential information if we are to properly cross-examine the defendants,” Soylu said. “It is illegal to not allow us to review this evidence.” The plaintiff lawyers’ complaints had to be filed with the Diyarbakir High Criminal Court, which would issue a decision on the matter, Compass reported. Meanwhile, the so-called “Ergenekon” network allegedly helped stage the Malatya massacre as well as the slayings of Catholic priest Andrea Santoro. Elsewhere, in a report submitted to the Turkish Parliament’s Human Rights Commission on January 14, 2008, Turkey’s Protestants noted that 2007 had been a “dark year” with a “serious and negative effect” on their small community, Compass reported. Continued on page 7 ►
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PRAYER Points April 2008
Day 5 India - Pray for God’s comfort upon the families of all the Christians who have died for their faith. Pray that everyone who have been responsible for and/or who have encouraged violent attacks against India’s Christians will be swiftly caught and brought to justice.
Mauritania - Hunger, illiteracy, and struggle are all some people have ever known. Almost half of the nation’s citizens suffer in poverty, and 20% of the people experience unemployment. Pray that God will supernaturally provide for the Mauritanians who are so precious to Him.
Day 2 Sudan - Pray for a full resolution of all armed conflicts, and that Christians impacted by the conflict will know God’s protection and peace and radiate His love to those around them. Pray for those who have been encouraging attacks against the Christians to swiftly be brought to justice.
Bhutan - Pray for strength and hope among persecuted Christians and they will continue to profess the name of Jesus Christ. Pray that they will continue to witness and lead others to Christ. Praise the Lord for the peaceful democratic elections. Pray that the fear of the Lord Jesus Christ will be upon all elected leaders to serve everyone fairly. Saudi Arabia – Pray especially for the predominately Islamic cities of Mecca and Medina and the Qasim Region – the “Qur’an Belt” of the nation which includes Riyadh, the capital. Pray that the LORD will appear to Muslims in visions and dreams, revealing His love for them, and His plan of Salvation.
Day 6 Guinea - Pray that the Bible, the Jesus Film, and other Christian materials will be translated into Guinea dialects, and that all Guineans will have access to the Gospel of Jesus Christ and the full Word of God.
Afghanistan – Pray for those in leadership to hunger and thirst after the One True Living God, to have the mind of Christ, and to seek His Kingdom.
Day 3 Kuwait – Pray for unity among Kuwait’s leaders. Pray they would focus on meeting the needs of the people from God’s perspective. Bangladesh - Pray for peace and understanding among different faith groups in Bangladesh. Pray that they will work harmoniously to serve those made homeless and destitute by the frequent and debilitating natural disasters. Pray that many will come to the saving knowledge of Christ, and that He will provide every need according to His riches in glory.
Day 4 Japan - Pray that God will display His awesome power with signs and miracles to surpass their intellect and win the hearts of the Japanese to Himself. Guinea-Bissau - Pray for pastors in the interior of the country who carry responsibility for often up to ten congregations. Pray that they will receive wisdom and knowledge from the Father to minister His life-giving Word to the people.
Thailand – Pray that Islamic militancy and fundamentalism in southern Thailand will cease. Pray that the Thai Christian and expatriate Christian workers will model the life and values of Christ.
Day 7 Niger – Pray for the supernatural release of the thousands of people that are still living in subjugation, according to anti-slavery organizations, even though Niger technically banned the centuries-old practice of slavery in 2003. Pray that all of those in captivity come to know Christ in the power of His love and His resurrection. Kyrgyzstan - Praise God that the Presidential Administration has rejected a harsh new decree which would have brought sweeping controls on religious activity. Pray that the Holy Spirit will direct the State Agency for Religious Affairs to write the final draft of the Religion Law so that it protects the Kyrgyz Church and all its people. Pray that the Church will freely follow Christ without persecution.
Day 8 Iran - Since the country believes apostasy is a crime, pray specifically for Muslims who convert to Christianity as they potentially face the death penalty. Pray that God will use Muslim background Believers to powerfully impact their nations for Christ. Burkina Faso - As the population density is high for Africa, this causes migrations of hundreds of
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thousands of Burkinabe to Cote d’Ivoire and Ghana, many for seasonal agricultural work. Pray that these workers are able to reunite with families when the work is done. Pray for the development of jobs and better living conditions for the people in this nation.
Day 13 Nepal - Pray that the fragile peace in Nepal between the Government and Maoist rebels will be preserved and greatly strengthened and that the Maoists will not reignite their violent rebellion against the Government. Pray for God’s protection and provision for Nepali Christians.
Day 9 Mali - Pray that families will find enough food to survive, and that they realize every good provision comes from God. Pray that the Kingdom of God will advance powerfully in Mali. Azerbaijan – A pastor from Azerbaijan recently shared that church registration is the greatest prayer need. Let us pray specifically for churches that are seeking registration in Azerbaijan to be allowed to legally exist in the country. Pray that God’s presence will be upon the Azeri Christians.
United Arab Emirates - Pray for the expatriate churches in the Emirates. There are ethnic Arab, Pakistani, Filipino and Indian congregations as well as churches that consist of people from many nations. Pray for there to be unity in the churches from all ethnic backgrounds, as they serve the Lord in this beautiful nation.
Day 14 Albania – Pray for success of the combined mission groups to reach Albanians and effectively train Christians and plant churches to fulfill the Great Commandment and Great Commission in this country.
Day 10 Benin – Praise God many young people have become Christians and there are student groups meeting around the country. Pray that these young people will continue to grow in their passion for God, and receive strategies from the Lord to expand the Kingdom of God. Indonesia – Pray for protection of the Christians of Indonesia who are in conflict-ridden regions. Pray that every diabolical scheme and plan are demolished. Pray that no weapon launched against the Church will prosper and every tongue that rises up against Indonesian Believers will be condemned by the Lord because this is the heritage of the Saints of the Most High God.
Morocco - Pray for the safety of Muslim background Believers (MBBs). Pray that God will anoint them to be His witnesses in Morocco.
Day 15 Iraq – Pray for the immediate and ongoing protection of Iraqi Christians. Pray that these Christians would remain strong and united. Pray for God’s supernatural provision for His people.
Sri Lanka – Buddhism is a religion based on nonviolence and tolerance. The violence of Buddhist extremists against Tamil Hindus and Christians makes this no longer the case. Pray that in this uncertainty people will come to Jesus Christ, the only Savior and Prince of Peace.
Laos - Pray that God will draw traumatized Hmong fleeing through the jungle, or who are refugees in Thailand, to Himself and deliver them from their enemies. (Psalm 3:8) Western Sahara – Pray that God would nurture those who have chosen to follow Him, draw them into fellowship with one another, and provide them with discipleship training. Pray that God will return the nearly 200,000 refugees to their homeland that is governed by the Sahrawi people and for the benefit of the Sahrawis.
Day 12 Egypt – Pray for Egyptian Christians to play a unique role in reaching other Muslim nations in the Middle East. Pray that Christians in Egypt will strategically work together to reach the other Arab countries for Christ. Uzbekistan – Pray that Christian Believers will be directed by the Lord as they spread the Gospel of Jesus Christ despite the harsh restrictions that the government has placed upon the Church. Praise God for those who are moving forward in the vision that God has given them to plant churches and raise up new workers.
Day 16 Israel - The ultra-religious Orthodox Jews (Haredi) dominate society, even though they only represent 10% of the population. Pray that the complete power of God’s grace and love would break through all religion and pride, and that they would come to the saving knowledge of Jesus Christ, the Messiah. Pray for safety and God’s Peace to reign in all of Israel. Tajikistan - Pray that the proposed new law which would greatly restrict religious freedom will not be passed. There is an attempt to curtail the activities of mission organizations and churches. Pray for the Gospel of Jesus Christ to go forth despite all of these challenges.
Day 17 China – As the upcoming Beijing Olympics may present a great opportunity for China, pray that God will use this time as one to demonstrate His glory and greatness in the eyes of the world. Pray Mark 4:22 over the horrific human rights violations and persecution of Chinese Christians and that God will expose China’s treatment of God’s people to the world. Pray that the government will represent all of the people in China fairly.
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Djibouti - Pray that Christians would form a strong inter-denominational network of prayer for the good of all in their nation. Pray that God anoints Believers to spread the Good News in their country.
Day 22 Ethiopia - The Ethiopian Orthodox Church has survived for centuries almost cut off from Christians around the world and surrounded by Islamic nations. Many Ethiopians belong to the Church without having a personal relationship with Jesus Christ and many delve into the occult. Pray that the Holy Spirit convicts the Church of its sin of worshipping other â€œgodsâ€? before Him, brings new life to the Church, and that all will come to the saving knowledge of Jesus Christ.
Day 18 Yemen â€“ Pray for efforts to bring development to the country, and for the clearance of mines and other unexploded munitions, a legacy of the civil war of 1994 and other conflicts. Pray that the Gospel will impact the very foundation of Yemen. Vietnam â€“ Pray for strength, peace and encouragement for all Christians imprisoned in Vietnam. Pray for their quick release, and that those responsible for imprisoning them will swiftly be brought to justice. Pray for the Church to mature in the Word of God, model the life of Christ and experience a close walk with the Lord.
Myanmar â€“ The leader of the opposition party, Aung San Suu Kyi, was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1991. She has been kept under house arrest since 1990. Pray the voice of the people will be heard and that there will be political and religious freedom and justice for all in Myanmar.
Chad â€“ Pray for continued peace and freedom in all ethnic and religious communities. Pray that the Lord will provide for those who have fled the country in fear of their lives. Pray that Muslim rebels would stop threatening and persecuting Christians, and that the rebel leader who has said that â€œChad is to be a Muslim countryâ€? will himself come to the saving knowledge of Jesus Christ and have a â€œroad to Damascusâ€? experience with the Lord.
Taiwan â€“ There are over a million young people in colleges or universities across Taiwan. Pray that during this soul-searching time in their lives they would explore what Christianity really means and come to know Jesus Christ the living God. Bahrain - Pray for greater acceptance of religious choice in this society, and an end to family pressure against those who choose to follow Jesus Christ.
Day 20 Brunei â€“ Pray that God grants Christian Believers in Brunei the ability to worship Him freely in a nation which claims religious tolerance although it ranks 23rd in persecuting Christians. Lebanon - Pray that the scars from the civil turbulence are healed and the peace of God returns to this country. Pray for healing of the deep hurts in communities, families and individuals and a willingness to forgive those who caused the suffering.
Algeria â€“ The Berber peoples could make up as much as 40% of the population, but the Arab majority have tried to impose their culture on them and stopped them from using their own language. Thousands in the Kabyle region have become Christians and meet openly in their villages. Pray for these churches that they would be protected from persecution and grow in their faith in God. Pray for Christian leaders who have been jailed for sharing their faith.
Day 24 Libya â€“ Pray for tolerance of Libyans who follow Christ so that they will not be forced to leave the country. Pray that all of Libya will be reached with the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
Day 21 Qatar - Pray for further changes to the legal recognition of churches, especially for the size requirement to be removed. Pray that God will give the Church His strategy for reaching Qatar and the Arab speaking world. Turkmenistan â€“ There are only three or four registered churches in the country. Most Christian Believers still meet secretly. However, there are reports of people coming to faith and the Gospel of Jesus Christ moving forward. Pray those who boldly share their faith will continue to do so regardless of the harsh consequences they may face.
Malaysia â€“ Growing Islamic culture in Malaysia could make it harder for Malay Muslims to hear the truth about Christ. Pray that Christians will find opportunities to share the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Pray for justice to prevail in Malaysia and the government will continue to represent all of the people.
Day 25 Oman - Pray that God will continue to keep Oman stable and provide meaningful employment for all its citizens. Pray that Christians will have equal access to jobs at every economic level. Pray that God-directed strategies to reach Oman for Christ will be implemented. Kazakhstan - Please pray especially at this time for religious freedom to continue in Kazakhstan. Up until recently, Kazakhstan has been the country with the most religious freedom in Central Asia. However, in the past few months, the situation has worsened considerably. The Kazakhstan National Security Committee has been raiding churches, confiscating computers and questioning church workers and
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church members. Pray that God will empower the Christian Church to reach all of Kazakhstan.
Day 26 Tunisia - Translating the Bible into Tunisian Arabic is in progress this is essential for the Gospel to be clearly understood and shared. Pray for that the people translating the Bible will have the knowledge and wisdom of God.
harassment of Jordanian and expatriate Christians entering the country. Pray that the government would treat all of the Jordanian citizens fairly and that demonic plans and schemes for Jordan will be thwarted. Senegal - Pray for the establishment of a mature, national Christian church. Pray that long-term church planters will intentionally train God-appointed emerging leaders with a heart for God and His people.
Day 30 Eritrea – Government restrictions have stopped Christian organizations from bringing help and aid into Eritrea, and have made it hard for any Christians to go, live, or work there. Pray for the removal of these limitations and for a dramatic increase in religious freedom so that Believers may worship Christ openly and be salt and light in their country.
Cambodia – Pray for unity among Cambodian Christians, and that they will effectively and enthusiastically reach out with the Gospel of Jesus Christ to the many unbelievers in their country. Bless the Church in Cambodia that has endured decades of hardship but has persevered!
Day 27 Turkey – Let us continue to pray for God’s Kingdom to rule in Turkey. Pray for freedom of the Gospel of Jesus Christ to go forth with boldness and power, and for the spiritual eyes of the people to be opened. Pray for justice to prevail in the trial of those charged with the murders of one German and two Turkish brothers. Remember to uphold the families of these slain Brothers in prayer.
Tibet – Ask the Lord to raise up strong local churches among the Tibetans. Pray that as new Believers come to trust in Christ, they will be properly and effectively discipled. Pray that Tibetans will be reached with the Gospel during the upcoming Olympics. Syria - Pray that God would look with favor upon the land of Syria. Pray that President Assad and all his officials would seek to lead their country in the fear of the Lord and with wisdom and discernment.
North Korea – Pray for China to begin issuing exit visas to a group of North Korean refugees currently in Beijing under the protection of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees. China has refused to allow them exit visas to resettle in South Korea unless the UNHCR agrees not to allow anymore North Korean refugees to seek asylum until after the Beijing Olympics.
Mongolia – Buddhism has a stronghold in Mongolia. Much of this is rooted in ancient traditions of witchcraft and the occult. Pray that God will raise up Christian leaders with the love of God and life-long commitment to see transformation come to Mongolia. Pray for those with the anointing of Moses and Deborah to arise and lead their country to the saving knowledge of Jesus Christ!
Day 31 Somalia – Pray that the Lord raises up righteous leaders and God-fearing government in the nation. Pray Mark 4:22 that evil and wicked al Qaeda insurgents will be found and dealt with. Pray for restoration and God’s Shalom in this unstable land. Pray that God will raise up men and women of God who will establish righteousness for all people. Also pray that the needed aid will get to the people who so desperately need it.
Pakistan - Especially in the wake of the assassination a few months ago of the religiously moderate pro-democracy Pakistani politician, Benazir Bhutto, the political situation in Pakistan has become even more unstable and volatile. Pray that Pakistan will have a wise, just and religiously moderate government which respects the rights of all of its citizens no matter what their religion is.
Day 29 Nigeria - Pray that the Lord gives Christian leaders His strategy to overcome demonic forces that are causing violence specifically in northern Nigeria. Pray for divine intervention.
East Timor - Pray for the Timorese government to further national unity despite ancient ethnic and political divisions. Pray for Christians to pray effective prayers for their country out of a pure heart. Pray for God to stabilize East Timor. The Gambia - Pray for Christian ministries, including those involved in prison evangelism, the JESUS film, radio broadcasts, and Christian TV programs, that they would gain wide exposure and be fruitful in leading people to Christ and discipling those have received Him as Savior and Lord. Pray that leaders will have a fervent zeal and love for God and His people. West Bank & Gaza Strip – Pray for these two areas in the land of Israel. Pray that every diabolical plan against these people who are precious to God will be demolished. Pray that the Christian world remembers that we are not fighting against flesh and blood but against principalities, evil rulers, authorities, strongholds and evil spirits in heavenly places. Pray that God supernaturally visits everyone living in the land with His Shalom.
Maldives - Pray for our Christian brothers and sisters who have experienced persecution in this nation. Pray that they will know God’s healing and restoration. Pray that those who are responsible for the persecution swiftly be brought to justice. We need God’s strategy to reach this nation. Jordan – Pray that the Lord would bring an end to
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CULTURE CORNER CHLADA FAKYA (FRUIT SALAD) INGREDIENTS:
Hassiba Boulmerka is a fast runner. She is so fast that she once won a gold medal in the 1500-meter race at the World Track and Field Championships. It was the first time a woman from Africa won the race. A year later, she became the first person from the country of Algeria to win a medal in the Olympics. Not all of the people from her country were proud of her though. Most Algerians are Muslims, and they expect women to be modest and hidden from outsiders. They say it is not proper for a woman to wear shorts and run with uncovered legs in front of thousands of men. Hassiba told a reporter that she has had Muslims spit on her, throw rocks at her, and call her names. There are other women in Algeria besides Hassiba who also want to dress in Western-style clothes and do work outside their homes. They are trying to get laws changed so they can have these freedoms.
BY CRISTY GEORGE
PRAYER ALERT: ALGERIA
1/4 melon, cubed
2 apples, cubed
3/4 cup orange juice
1/4 cup lemon juice
2 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
2 bananas, sliced
peeled, seeded and chopped
TO PREPARE: Mix all ingredients. Chill and add a tablespoon of whipping cream to each dish before serving. Serves 6.
Let’s pray: • • •
That women will be treated with respect, given opportunities to work outside the home and to dress more freely. That religious freedom will become a reality in Algeria. That God will protect Christians from persecution.
Prayer by Keturah, Age 10 Father, I pray that women in Algeria will be allowed to choose how they would like to dress. I pray that they will be treated with respect and that they would be able to get the types of jobs that they would like. I also pray that you would protect the Christians in Algeria so they can tell others about Christ. I pray the laws will be changed so there will be greater religious freedom in Algeria. Amen.
MEMORY VERSE “The Lord watches over the strangers; He relieves the fatherless and widow; but the way of the wicked He turns upside down.” (Psalm 146:9 NKJV)
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In addition to the Malatya massacre, the report cited 19 specific incidents of intimidation and violence against their church leaders and buildings reported officially to Turkish security officials. The Protestants faulted ongoing “campaigns of provocation” inciting Turkish society against non-Muslim groups and portraying “missionary activity” as a crime, even at the highest state levels. “Non-Muslims in Turkey (are) a prime target, particularly for radical groups,” the report said, Compass reported.
Pray for: • Order and a fair trial in the murder case of the Turkish and German Christians who were martyred. Pray that those who encouraged and organized the murders will be brought to justice. Mark 4:22 • People involved in the case and Turkish Christians not be intimidated by all the negative publicity. • God to expose and demolish the demonic forces behind the five Turkish Muslims and the “Ergenekon” network. • The spirit of violence in Turkey against non-Muslims to be replaced with the LORD’s Peace. • The widows of the murdered Christians to have strength to continue to attend the hearings and press for charges even though this means that they have to continually listen details of the murders. • The safety of the lawyers, who are not Christians, but have boldly defended Christians in Turkey. • Turkish churches and Christians to have wisdom and strength to go through these difficult days. Sources: Compass Direct News, Christian Solidarity Worldwide
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Why are children being trained as human suicide bombs in Israel? What is the Arab/Israeli conflict in the Middle East about? What does Islam teach? What is Jihad (Holy War) and why is it dangerous? How does the presence of Islam in America affect the American way of life? Why does Islam pose a problem for Christians and Jews? What can we do about the growing threat of Islam worldwide?
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College beaten, kicked and attacked with rods. More attackers arrived in a van and dragged one student into the vehicle, where he was beaten and kicked. Nine students were treated in hospital for injuries, NCEASL said. On the same day, a mob of 200 people surrounded a local pastor’s home in Udugama, Galle District, and told him to leave the village or face death. The crowd also warned that his Church, Opma Bible Ministry, could be accused of complicity with terrorism. In early, February three men armed with clubs came to the Sunday school and threatened the church, NCEASL said.
Sri Lankan Christians Experience ‘Dramatic’ Increase In Violence Intercessors are needed to stand in the gap for Christians in Sri Lanka, who have seen a “dramatic” increase in violence in recent months in the predominantly Buddhist nation in South Asia, according to reports from the National Christian Evangelical Alliance of Sri Lanka (NCEASL).
“The recent severe escalation in violence is deeply troubling,” Christian Solidarity Worldwide (CSW) Advocacy Director Alexa Papadouris said. “Although there have been similar periods of hostility towards Christians in Sri Lanka in the past, acts of violence had significantly decreased in the last two years. We urge the Sri Lankan authorities to take immediate action to quell this new upsurge of attacks, bring the perpetrators of violence to justice, and to ensure that a climate of impunity does not develop.” On March 3, 2008, the Zion Mount Prayer House in Mulaitivu District was set on fire. The pastor, his wife, child and two other people were inside at the time, although it is believed they were able to escape, NCEASL officials told CSW. The previous day, 10 Bible School students in Lunuwila, Putlam District, were attacked by 10 masked men on motorbikes. The Believers Church Bible
Meanwhile, Pastor Neil Edirisinghe was killed by gunmen outside his home in Ampara on February 17, 2008. His wife, Shiromi, was also shot and wounded, and she remains in a critical condition. The couple’s 2-year-old son received minor injuries and was still in shock after witnessing the shooting, Compass Direct News reported. Police have arrested four people, two of whom are members of the Home Guards, a government group assisting the police and military in security and other matters. Reports suggest this was a contract killing arising from Pastor Edirsinghe’s role in alleged religious conversions, according to CSW. In 2004, a political party, the Jathika Hela Urumaya (Buddhist Heritage Party) was formed in Sri Lanka to promote “anticonversion” legislation in an effort to prevent conversions to Christianity. On the same day of Edirisinghe’s murder, a mob of 50 people armed with rods attacked King’s Revival Church in Mathugama, Kaluthara District, and assaulted a 10 year-old child, one
man and two women, CSW said. On February 14, 2008, a Christian home in Weeraketiya, Hambanthota District, was stoned while the local pastor, his wife and two children were inside visiting a sick parishioner. In addition to violence, Christians are facing other forms of harassment. On March 3, 2008, the Provincial Council in Kelaniya, Gampaha District revoked approval for the construction of a new church building. The Foursquare Gospel Church had received approval for the new building, but was then ordered to stop construction immediately. No reason was given, CSW said. Pray for: • Increasing violence against Sri Lankan Christians to stop. • The terror of the Lord to fall on those who persecute Sri Lankan Christians and that the Angel of the Lord will protect Christians. (2 Corinthians 5:11, NKJV). • Persecutors of Sri Lankan Christians to be challenged by the consistent testimony of Christ’s followers and be drawn to Him. • Peace and restoration of health to Pastor Neil Edirisinghe’s wife, Shiromi, and son. Pray for Shiromi to be able to forgive her husband’s killers. • Those responsible for Pastor Edirisinghe’s murder to be tried and brought to justice. • The Lord to manifest Himself in Sri Lanka, and produce a massive harvest of Buddhists souls into His Kingdom. • Pray that persecuted Sri Lankan Believers will find strength in Christ (2 Corinthians 1:5). Sourced: National Christian Evangelical Alliance, Christian Solidarity Worldwide, Compass Direct News, Open Doors USA, International Christian Concern
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Kazakhstan: Growing Intolerance of Christians There is a growing intolerance of Christians in Kazakhstan—one of the Central Asian countries that were part of the Soviet Union Communist empire and later became independent states, according to World Evangelical Alliance Religious Liberty Commission (WEARLC). In August 2007, Grace Presbyterian Church in Karaganda, a large church with 2,500 members, was raided by National Security Committee secret police for 15 hours. Although initial accusations of treason against the pastor and three other church leaders were dropped, other Grace churches in Kazakhstan were investigated and several were threatened with closure in the following months. On January 25-26, 2008, the 5,000-member Grace Presbyterian Church in Almaty, one of the largest churches in the country, was raided by secret police for 17 hours, Forum 18 reported. A Grace Church representative said the raid was aimed at closing down the approximately 300 Grace churches in Kazakhstan. They are now being scrutinized by several state agencies.
“There is an urgent need to pray for the situation in the country as it may deteriorate very quickly,” WEARLC said.
Pray for: • • • • •
The government to recognize the rights of Christians to practice their faith. The salvation of Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev and other government leaders. Kazakhstan Church leaders—that God will give them wisdom in responding to the current wave of persecution. (Daniel 2:14) God to strengthen persecuted Kazakhstan Christians, and give peace and security to their families. Christian religious organization working in the country to have the freedom to spread the Gospel.
Sourced: World Evangelical Alliance Religious Liberty Commission, Forum 18, Open Doors USA
Although the investigation is still under way, there have already been several negative media reports, such as “Deceptive Grace,” which accused Grace Church members of spying, possessing drugs and stealing property, Forum 18 reported.
Praise Report: Saudi Arabia In an answer to prayer, the religious police in Saudi Arabia still exist, but the group’s power has been greatly cut in the last two years. The religious police, or Commission for the Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice, enforces a strict Islamic moral code in Saudi Arabia. The religious police have been diminished mainly due to the uproar that they caused in two separate incidents with Saudi nationals, where the locals died after being beaten in an attempt to “correct” their behavior. Meanwhile, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia is still somewhat restricted, but not as much as four years ago.
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Top church leaders from different organizations, including Foundation for International Research and Education (FIRE), are meeting together regularly to reach out to the people of Orissa—one of the poorest state of India. On April 11, 2007, after several years of meeting informally, a group of more than 50 leaders representing 39 organizations launched the Orissa Think Tank for Transformation (OTTT). With a commitment to learn from each other, they share their creative ideas, strategies and training opportunities. More than 55 missions have joined the network. In December 2007, mission leaders from 16 organizations gathered to evaluate the year. They had collectively planted 503 new gatherings of Christian Believers, with 5,313 people making professions of faith and nearly 2,000 of them taking baptism. They celebrated with an all-night prayer meeting, dancing, singing and giving thanks to the Lord for all He had done. A major focus the OTTT is to raise up prayer for Orissa and all its peoples. Last year, they appointed a state prayer coordinator, whose role is to help churches in every district to lead Christians in informed, specific, regular prayer for the needs and people of their communities. Orissa’s first all-state prayer conference is set for April 3-5, 2008. Organizers expect more than 300 Christians, including intercessors from India’s National Prayer Network, who will be encouraged to bless the people of Orissa as they seek the transformation of the state.
Now more than ever, it is the desire of OTTT members and Indian intercessors who are giving themselves daily to this move of God in Orissa to encourage the global community to stand with them and increase the intensity of prophetic prayer for this small state with so much potential. Won’t you join them?
• Pray that God will greatly increase the fruitfulness of Orillan missions as they put their hearts and minds together in the Orissa Think Tank for Transformation network. • Pray for the 5,000 new believers of 2007, that God will make them powerful witnesses in their communities, bringing many friends and family members to the Lord. • Pray for Orissa’s first all-state prayer conference, that hundreds of believers will take up the charge to pray daily for their cities and villages with understanding and discernment.
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